Houses with Balcony Access
by Hannes Meyer (1929–30)
The five Houses with Balcony Access were built as a collective planning project in the Bauhaus building department spearheaded by Walter Gropius in 1927 and led by Hannes Meyer. Their bold design reflects the functions of habitation and the extreme reduction of materials and building components yields a singular architectonic quality. The consistently rationally designed layout of the social housing serves its purpose with ingenious and well-grounded floorplans and fittings. Subject to sensitive modifications, the affordable flats with communal spaces still meet contemporary requirements and remain continuously occupied.
The five houses were built on behalf of the "Spar- und Baugenossenschaft Dessau" (Dessau Savings and Building Society) by the Bauhaus building department, directed from 1927 by Hannes Meyer, who later became director of the Bauhaus.
The balcony access is a traditional type of access for flats, whereby the entrance doors of a number of small units face onto a common, open gangway that leads to a staircase. The history of balcony access houses reaches back to the Middle Ages; they experienced a renaissance in the social housing of the 1920s.